SF Giants manager Bob Melvin makes egregious error in 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants
Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants dropped the finale of a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. It was an egregious decision by manager Bob Melvin to use Luke Jackson in the 10th inning of a tie game that led to the defeat.

SF Giants manager Bob Melvin makes egregious error in 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs

On a positive note, the Giants won three out of four games against the Cubs at home. In essence, they were playing with house money in the final game of the series.

They were facing off against lefty pitcher Shōta Imanaga. Imanaga has been excellent in his rookie season, so coming away with a win was going to be a tough task. The Giants went with a right-heavy lineup to combat the southpaw on the mound.

Imanaga only allowed five hits and two walks in six frames, but the Giants managed to scratch three runs across the plate. The Cubs got out to an early lead, but the Giants tied it late in the game. Given that the game was at home, it felt the odds tipped in their favor.

The game went into the 10th inning. Bob Melvin already used Spencer Bivens, Erik Miller, Ryan Walker, and Sean Hjelle at this point in the game. Luke Jackson, Tyler Rogers, Taylor Rogers, Camilo Doval, Spencer Howard, and Randy Rodríguez
were among the available options.

It was not a save situation, so I can understand not going with Doval to some extent. Walker made his 41st appearance, tying him with Tyler Rogers for the league lead. Both have been used heavily so far this season. Rogers was likely not available except in an emergency situation.

Taylor Rogers has generally not been used in leverage spots, but he has a 2.23 ERA in 34 appearances this season. Both Howard and Rodríguez soaked up some innings earlier in the series, so there was a possibility that neither one was available.

Instead, Melvin went with Jackson. The veteran reliever was making his third appearance in the series. Before the game, he had struggled to the tune of a 6.12 ERA in 25.0 frames with San Francisco in 2024. Jackson came in an immediately allowed a two-run homer to Ian Happ on a pitch that caught way too much of the middle of the plate.

Unfortunately, as soon as he was called into the game, it was hard to envision any other outcome. The Giants dropped the final game of the series. In fairness, sweeping teams is difficult, especially in a four-game series.

That said, the issue is not that the Giants lost the game. It is that Melvin went with a struggling reliever with seemingly other options on the table. Perhaps, Taylor Rogers could have been used in that spot. Maybe one of Howard or Rodríguez could have worked an inning.

I get that the bullpen has been taxed a lot lately. The Giants bullpen had thrown 333.2 innings prior to today's game, which was the second-most in baseball. Options were obviously limited and we may not know who was available.

However, using Jackson when any other option was on the table cannot be justified. Maybe the result is the same, but Melvin could more easily justify using someone like Taylor Rogers or Spencer Howard. Or, even trying to stretch Sean Hjelle for another inning.

It was not Jackson's fault necessarily that he lost the game. It was a function of the decision that led to that. Melvin has made some questionable decisions in his first season as the team's skipper, but this one was arguably the worst. The good news is that it was only one game.